World Championship Bronze for NZ’s 49erFX Golden Girls
By Radix Team 15/09/2017 11:16 am
Alex & Molly

The 2017 Sailing World Championships took place in Porto, Portugal, between August 28th and September 2nd. Sailing a 49erFX, New Zealanders, Alex Maloney and Molly Meech started well in the regatta, winning four of the qualifying races to take an early lead. But conditions worsened in the final two days as strong winds and large swells hit the coast off Porto – which quite literally threw the ladies off course for a top spot. Radix are supporting the pair throughout their campaign, supplying specialised highly-nutritious freeze-dried meals. Especially useful when travelling and competing away from home, the meals are an intrinsic part of a trustworthy nutritional strategy for dietary success. Radix meals enable easy access to a broad-spectrum of macro-and-micronutrients, which helps support the body during times of intense physical demands. We recently caught up with Molly Meech to get the low-down on their time at the prestigious regatta.

“​It felt good to have a consistent qualifying series, but we knew that as soon as the gold fleet came together things would get harder – so we kept the mind-set to approach each race as it came, step by step. We had a slightly different build-up than normal, spending more time at the venue getting acclimatised to the conditions, so we could feel comfortable in the big waves that were expected.” 

Danish pair Jena Hansen and Katja Iversen seemed to favour the tough conditions and set the pace getting to the front of the pack, with Brazilians Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze hot on their heels.

Maloney & Meech fought hard against adversity in the first two races, finishing 12th and eighth, but refocused in the afternoon to finish second and first in their subsequent races. Yet with silver in their sights, they dropped back to eighth in the final race, finishing 19 points behind the first-placed Danes and 10 behind the Brazilian silver-medallists. 

“We went into the competition aiming for the top of the podium, but also to put down consistent results through the whole series. A few mistakes in the gold fleet racing were costly, so we’re happy to come away with bronze.”

There were unforeseen disruptions, as Meech explained: ​

“One of the biggest challenges for me was the fact we had to wait around and ‘be ready’ , due to foggy conditions and lack of wind, during the first three days of the competition. Having to wait is frustrating – especially when all you want to do is get out and race.”

Despite a challenging final two days in which adverse weather conditions got the better of them, the New Zealanders admitted they'd learned lots from the experience and it has fortified their confidence for the coming months.

“I think it is nice to know where we stand in the FX fleet now, but it is still early on in this Olympic Games cycle and lots can change as the fleet improves towards Tokyo 2020, so we must keep pushing ourselves to get better.”

Considering the turbulent events of the pivotal final few races, Maloney and Meech should be proud to come away with a bronze medal.

“​We have taken a little time off since the event, but are now getting back into a training block here in New Zealand. Then we’ll head to Japan to check out the Olympic venue, which we are very excited about.”

Not only have they faced unknowns on the water, but the pair started the season under new guidance with their former coach, Nathan Handley, back in the driving seat. Handley previously coached them to their world title in 2013 and mentored Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie to Olympic gold and silver in the women's 470.

“​It was great to be back working with Nathan, and awesome to get a podium result with him again. We are certainly confident going forward and have our sights firmly set on a gold medal at the 2020 Olympics Games.”

Follow the Radix Bulletin for latest news on Maloney and Meech’s Olympic campaign.

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